Hello, friends. The 89th Annual League of NH Craftsmen’s Fair is a wrap. Thank you to all of the people who climbed up to Tent 1 to chat and to support my efforts as a weaver. It was lovely to see you all, and I hope to see you next year!
Being outdoors in a tent for 9 days straight peddling my weaving always affords the opportunity to have some interesting conversations with people. I heard the following comment so many times that I began to dwell upon it:
“Weaving must be very meditative.”
Hmmm… This observation was made more than once, as was its sister comment, “Weaving must be so relaxing.”
My typical response was something along the lines of, “Well, it can be. It kinda depends. Sometimes. But warping the loom takes a lot of work.” (I am usually left tongue-tied and/or say stupid things during conversations with strangers. Remember: I usually spend the majority of my days talking to Mr. Darcy):
I began to think of answers to the beginning of the phrase, “Weaving must be….” and changed it to, “Weaving can be….”
- Physically demanding. It involves a lot of repetitive motion and engages hands, legs, shoulders, and hands. Your neck can get very sore if you don’t take breaks. Too much sitting, which is hard to avoid when one is a production weaver, can lead to real aches and pains.
- Frustrating. Broken warp threads, tangled warp chains, mistakenly threaded heddles, dropped shuttles, treadling errors that ruin an entire piece, the list goes on. All of these situations (and more!) can drive a weaver nuts. Sometimes you just cannot reason away a weaving error by claiming that it is “a design element.”
- The result of many hours of working on a design. Whether you use graph paper and colored pencils or a weaving software program, one spends an awful lot of time trying to coordinate colors, yarns, and weaving structures in a way that makes sense for the intended final piece. And sometimes your design is a total flop. People don’t like it. You don’t like it. All of that work and expense put into materials, just GONE. All you can do is try to remember your mistakes. (And maybe unweave some of your fabric so you can at least use the yarns as scrap.)
- Heavy on the math. Weaving math is not difficult and doesn’t require much more than basic computation, but it cannot be avoided. It involves things like figuring measurement conversions, calculating percentages (to account for shrinkage), how many ounces of yarn are in a yard and even, depending on your design intentions, geometry and things like the Fibonacci sequence. Calculators help. There’s also, if you’re like me, a fair amount of gambling (“I bet I have enough warp here to weave another 3 inches of fabric…”), but I do not take the time to calculate the odds. 😉
I suppose that if one associates “meditation” with “focus,” then, yes, weaving can be seen as a kind of meditation in motion. Any kind of weaving, one shuttle weave, two shuttle weave, double weave, overshot, plain weave, requires constant attention and the willingness to correct mistakes, if you’re lucky enough to catch them.
Despite all of the “Weaving Stinks” photos and frustrations, I still think that weaving is the best job in the world, at least for me. Okay. Enough chatter. Onto the weaving…
One of my projects after the Fair was to weave some trivets using a warp rep. They’re colorful and functional:
I also finished a new weaving pattern and I’m really excited about it. Ta da! The “Transitions Scarf!”
This scarf is woven from 5/2 bamboo and is a good project for a confident beginner with access to a 4 harness loom. I like this scarf design, which I’ve woven for years, because bamboo is a good fiber for those in-between days between the seasons, when it isn’t quite chilly enough for wool but you need an extra layer of warmth. I also wear bamboo when I anticipate being inside a space with air conditioning.
Back to the loom for now. I’ve got a new project underway, shawls, and I look forward to sharing my progress with you.
Be safe and well,